Why Netflix’s ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ has got archaeologists up in arms

Why Netflix’s ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ has got archaeologists up in arms

Many experts believe that Graham Hancock’s theories are implausible and completely unfounded

NETFLIX is full of shows that promise to delve into the mysteries of our planet, and ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ is one of them.

In it, the British former journalist Graham Hancock revisits the myth of a distant, forgotten civilisation that supposedly transmitted its knowledge to early man – a theory that angers archaeologists.

At first glance, “Ancient Apocalypse” has everything to please viewers with its stunning scenes shot in Indonesia, Mexico, Malta and Turkey.

It is in these breathtaking settings that the controversial journalist and writer, Graham Hancock, claims to be documenting evidence of the existence, more than 12,000 years ago, of an ancient civilisation of builders.

This forgotten civilisation was, he claims, swallowed by the waters at the end of the last Ice Age.

But its rare survivors supposedly travelled to the four corners of the globe to transmit their knowledge, in particular regarding the construction of pyramids, to the oldest civilisations whose existence can be attested to by archeologists.

Hancock argues, in the first of eight episodes of ‘Ancient Apocalypse’, that the Gunung Padang hill in Indonesia is a pyramid that contains burial vaults that predate the ancient Egyptians and Mayans.

However, many experts believe that Graham Hancock’s theories, presented in ‘Ancient Apocalypse’, are implausible and completely unfounded.

Worse, they could damage “the public’s perception of archaeology,” as the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) writes in an open letter, dated November 30, to Netflix and the production company ITN.

‘Entertainment’ rather than documentary

The trade association, which has more than 5,500 members, is urging the world’s most powerful streaming platform to categorize Graham Hancock’s show as a work of science fiction, and not as a documentary series, as is currently the case.

In addition, it asks both organisations to include warnings about the theories the show contains, and “to balance the deleterious content in the show with scientifically accurate information about our human past.”

The Society for American Archaeology explains in this open letter that Graham Hancock’s claims about the alleged existence of a globalized civilisation that disappeared at the end of the Ice Age have no scientific basis.

“After more than a century of professional archaeological investigations, we find no archaeological evidence to support the existence of an ‘advanced, global Ice Age civilization’ of the kind Hancock suggests.

“Archaeologists have investigated hundreds of Ice Age sites and published the results in rigorously reviewed journals. The assertion that ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ is a factual ‘docuseries’ or ‘documentary’ rather than entertainment with ideological goals is preposterous,” it reads.

The association is also offended by the former journalist’s repeated attacks on mainstream archaeologists. Indeed, the British writer believes that members of this profession are condescending and disdainful “pseudo-experts.”

“Contrary to Hancock’s claims, archaeology does not willfully ignore credible evidence nor does it seek to suppress it in a conspiratorial fashion,” writes the SAA.

Not such a ‘far-fetched’ theory?

For the time being, neither Netflix nor ITN Productions has commented on the controversy surrounding ‘Ancient Apocalypse’. And that’s hardly surprising, considering that the show is proving a real hit with the streaming platform’s users.

Since its November 11 release, it has been in the top 10 most-watched series in many territories, according to data from the FlixPatrol website.

All of this has given Graham Hancock a field day. The show’s frontman recently took to Twitter to condemn “the hysterical reactions by archaeologists and their sock-puppets in the media to my Netflix docuseries.”

Although criticised by the scientific community, he enjoys the support of several controversial figures, including Joe Rogan. The podcast host even appears in the official trailer for ‘Ancient Apocalypse’, as if to somehow bolster the credibility of Graham Hancock.

However, the 55-year-old American has often been accused of relaying fake news and far-fetched conspiracy theories.

Graham Hancock says that his theories, concerning the existence of a civilisation before the last Ice Age, are not as far-fetched as all that.

“I don’t make outrageous claims like microchips or building spaceships or flying to the moon,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Indeed, his theory may seem more plausible than that of the German amateur historian, Heribert Illig, according to whom the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries were simply invented; or that of the British naturalist Philip Henry Gosse, who claims that fossils are not the remains of life forms that lived on Earth, but traps deliberately laid by God to test the faith of naturalists.

But more plausible does not necessarily mean factual. For Flint Dibble, a researcher at Cardiff University, this lack of veracity explains the outrage that ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ is causing in the archaeological community.

Writing in an article on The Conversation, he quotes Steph Halmhofer, a PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, who’s an expert in the use of pseudo-archaeology.

Halmhofer says: “the vagueness of who this supposed advanced civilisation was, combined with the credence given to it by being in a Netflix-produced series, is going to make Ancient Apocalypse an easily moldable source for anyone looking to fill in a fantasied mythical past.”

source – ETX Daily Up

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